‘Govt, Swinburne finding out ways to help single mothers re-enter job market’

KOTA SAMARAHAN: The government is working with Swinburne University Sarawak Campus on research to help single mothers enter the job market again.

Assistant Minister of Early Childhood Education and Family Development Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said the study would also find out why they quit their jobs.

“This is because these single mothers are still at the productive age and they can still find work,” she said at the press conference after launching the 4th Series of the Women Empowerment Programme at Samarahan Civic Centre here yesterday.

She said the study was initiated by Swinburne University Sarawak based on the result of a random survey among 400 women categorised as single mothers in Kuching, Samarahan, Bintulu, Miri and Serian.

She hoped that through the ‘Investigation Into Barriers For Single Mothers — Re-Entry Into The Workforce in Urban Sarawak’, the government could identify the obstacles, problems and challenges these women would face when entering the workforce again.

“The research will help the government in its empowerment programme to make sure that single mothers have income of their own and the research will give recommendation on how they can enter the workforce again and to give them the encouragement to work again.”

Dr Ida Fatimawati Adi Badiozaman of Swinburne University chipped in and said one of the reasons why single mothers found it challenging to return to the workforce was lack of childcare provision.

“This is especially for single mothers with young children who find it very difficult to send their children to a place that they can afford,” she explained.

Ida said lack of transportation also prevented them from taking up jobs that suited them.

“Without transport they cannot take up a job that is far away from where they stay,” she said.

Ida further said the level of academic qualifications was another main factor.

“Most single mothers are SPM school leavers, which restricts them from getting a better job that gives them higher income to enable them to send their children to childcare centres and get transport.”

Women and Family Development Department director Noriah Ahmad said their focus was on single mothers who earned less than the minimum salary of RM920 and needed assistance.

“That is the reason we need to empower them to do something that can help to contribute to their better income. Single mothers who earn above this minimum salary have a separate agency to take care of them,” she said.

Noriah advised single mothers to join associations like Persatuan Ibu Tunggal Sarawak (Pitsa) which could help them.Besides the research, she said there would be more programmes with the university to help these women lead a better life and improve themselves.

“That is the reason we must empower them to take up all these challenges,” she added.

Source: The Borneo Post

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